Effective Communications in the Age of COVID

Misunderstandings and shortcuts in the workplace can create a hostile and stressful environment.

By Steven E. Sacks
The NEW Fundamentals

With more people using mobile devices for communication shortcuts, are we facing troublesome challenges in speaking in a recognizable language in the U.S.?

MORE: Why Proper Communication Is Critical | Syncing Up for the COVID Era | The New COVID-19 Workplace: Are You Prepared? | How to Create Effective Internal Communications | Profit Is Not a Mission | Confronting Leadership: Not Such a Bad Thing | New Opportunities for a ‘New Normal’ | Is Trust Elusive?
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While it may be convenient for some, for others it leaves them scratching their heads. I am not seeking to be a public scold. However, if you want your communication to be effective, then understand your audience, situation, and topic.

This is especially relevant with teams working virtually, and at a distance, in the Age of COVID.
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Why So Many M&As Fall Short

Three office workers glaring at cameraPLUS: The 3 prongs of culture and why they matter.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

Principally because of the “post COVID-19 blues” and anticipated difficulty in growing organically at an acceptable rate and because of the ever-increasing number of baby boomer retirements, there is a sense that small and mid-sized firms will continue to merge at a healthy pace.

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To illustrate, in just the past few weeks, we learned that Anders CPAs + Advisors picked up Cummings, Ristau & Associates (both of St. Louis), Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball Chtd (Great Bend, Kansas) added Jonesboro, Arkansas office of EGP PLLC and Hancock Askew & Co. (Georgia and Flordia) acquired CAPA (Miami). These are noteworthy transactions and we believe that there are more to come.
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Say Hello to the New 24-Month Busy Season

Deann Auman Hill and Mike Shost at AICPA Engage: “The 24-Month Tax Season?”

COVID chaos turns Busy Season 2020 from bad to worse.

BUSY SEASON BAROMETER:
How accountants are battling the Coronavirus recession
Join the survey. Get the answers.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Last year—the good old days!—Busy Season seemed to be about as bad as it could get. Congress enacted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act without explaining how it was to be enacted, and then changed some things. And then the IRS shut down before the rules could be set and the new forms and schedules made available. And all of a sudden it was April 15.

MORE on the 2020 SEASON: The Mystery of 10 Million Missing Tax Returns | Tax Pro E-Filings Down 20 Percent | IRS Web Traffic Doubles over Year-Ago | COVID Drowns IRS in New Filings | 2020 Tax Season Comes to a Screeching Halt | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | Tax Pros Fall Behind 6.2% in Returns Filed
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Tax practitioners had little good to say about 2019. According to last year’s CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer, 46 percent said 2019 was worse than the previous year. Only 13 percent thought it was “much better.”

That was then.

This is now. And, now is worse.

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Don’t Let Exiting Partners Double Dip

Senior businesswoman in officeWhy pay if the firm doesn’t get the clients?

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

Here’s a question that frequently arises in my consulting engagements: What are your thoughts on partners wanting to work for the firm in a non-partner role after they retire, who continue to control “their” clients while receiving deferred compensation and a salary for their work?

MORE: The 13 Signs You Have a Partner Problem | COVID-19, Adversity and Innovation | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | Merging in Sellers: What You Need to Know | Take Yoda’s Advice on Strategic Planning | 15 Amazing Organizational Tactics to Manage a CPA Firm | How to Develop a Truly Progressive NextGen Culture
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The answer is rooted in the maxim: “No transition … no goodwill.” This means that retired partners should not have the inalienable right to deferred comp without actively and effectively transitioning their clients. If they don’t transition, then the remaining partners, at their sole discretion, should be able to reduce the deferred comp payments.
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Why We Risk Change

Two men training in tae kwon do at gymFrom martial arts to business: 5 steps of evolution.

By Bill Reeb

John, my instructor, teaches us that there is a hierarchy to learning martial arts.

MORE: Work ‘Better,’ Not ‘Harder’ | Why Your To-Do List Isn’t Getting Done | Appreciate the Joy That Comes From Work | Covid Crisis Requires New Mindsets | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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First you learn techniques, like punching and kicking. As you gain confidence in your technique, you can jump to a higher level and incorporate interval into your self-defense toolkit.
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9 Big Ways the IRS Could Help Accountants

Number 9 created by gaps between many small green plastic 9'sDeadlines could change. So could options.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The Taxpayer Advocacy Service’s mission is to make life easier for taxpayers, but when it succeeds, it alleviates the burden on tax practitioners as well.

MORE: Flexibility in a Time of Pandemic | What Are IRS FAQs Worth? | The Top Six IRS #FAILS this Tax Season (So Far)
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With that mission in mind, the TAS has set itself a serious series of nine objectives for fiscal year 2021. Each one touches on the services of CPAs and tax practitioners, so it’s worthwhile to follow how successful the TAS is.
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Start Marketing Now for Next Season

No, it’s not too early to begin planning.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Marketing takes many forms. Further, many accountants are not trained in marketing. I also know that while most CPAs want more business, they are too busy with what they have to be actively seeking new business. Additionally, marketing can be external, internal or retentive.

MORE: 4 Reasons Not to Let Staff Go After Tax Season | Nine Keys to Success and Growth | What Kind of Accountant Are You? | COVID Tests Accountants’ Entrepreneurial Talents | Have You Gotten Where You Wanted Yet?
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External is where new clients are solicited. That takes effort, ingenuity, time and maybe even some money.
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The 13 Signs You Have a Partner Problem

Businessman holding two papers with happy and angry face each on themAnd seven ways to fix it.

By Marc Rosenberg
The Rosenberg Practice Management Library

In my experience, roughly 60 percent of all CPA firms (below the Top 100) have either major partner conflict or a pronounced lack of effective partner communication and/or relations.

MORE: COVID-19, Adversity and Innovation | How Covid Impacts Partner Retirements |  Three Tough Questions in Partner Buyouts | Is Mandatory Retirement a Best Practice? | COVID-19: How Your Firm Can Respond | Reward Partners for Performing Like Partners
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This is a huge problem because unless the partners of a firm work reasonably well together, it is very difficult for their firm to be truly successful. I’ve always been a believer of the adage “partners who play well together do well together.”
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Work ‘Better,’ Not ‘Harder’

Man working hard at office deskThis extends to how you use and train your people.

By Bill Reeb

Overachievers typically don’t have a problem working hard, but they often have a problem working “better.” So let’s focus on learning how to work better.

MORE: Why Your To-Do List Isn’t Getting Done | Learn to Embrace Failure | What Would Make You Happy? | COVID-19 Crisis Requires New Mindsets | 3 Early Warning Signals for Overachievers | How Overachievers Can Get ‘Unstuck’
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Regarding any technique, know that by remaining open to learning while doing the work (letting go of what you think you know), that is where you will find the “wisdom in the work,” which can bubble up into profound thoughts and ideas that can help you work better.
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